Do you know Bitcoin? Do you know how graphic design has help Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to build their branding image?
When it comes to graphic design, we’re seeing a rising demand for cryptocurrency design, whether it’s for currencies, trading platforms or wallets, so naturally we were curious: What does cryptocurrency design look like? And what are the design trends of the industry?
There is a 450% increase in cryptocurrency design projects in just the last few years. As cryptocurrencies only exist in a virtual space, it’s clear that entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency world need to focus on design to represent what they do. For designers on the other hand, the big question is how to design for cryptocurrency businesses. What are these brands and their clients expecting?
Cryptocurrency is a new industry, but it still has enough history to go on, so we don’t have to move forward blindly.
The first example to start with is definitely Bitcoin.
Bitcoin would never have gotten this far without solid branding and design choices. Their style has changed since they first started in 2009.
The two most consistent elements of Bitcoin’s design are the gold color and two vertical strokes through the B that mimic the U.S. dollar sign. In fact, the “striped B” is easily recognizable as Bitcoin, even without the color or the circle around it that represents a coin. With this representation they manage to visualize the idea of Bitcoin really effectively and make it feel more tangible, like a regular currency.
Bitcoin’s brand colors are gold and a silvery blue, which they use extensively on their website. In addition to the gold highlights in the header menu (accented by the black background), their blog feature images follow the brand color guidelines.
The second example is Ethereum. Based on its logo and website, Ethereum is a modern, futuristic brand with a minimalist touch, as seen in their typography and the use of negative space.
Take note of a few specific details. First, Ethereum also uses a silvery blue as one of their leading colors, just like Bitcoin. Their logo itself employs several different shades.
Second, Ethereum introduces us to the angular and grid-like styles that are coming to dominate cryptocurrency design. Their logo is a geometrist’s dream of triangles, and their header image also creates a triangle with a grid of repeating lines.
The rest of Ethereum’s site seems pretty standard for any industry. They follow the basic, contemporary design principles, including flat illustrations and easy-on-the-eyes typography, although the color scheme favors formality and professionalism more than other industries.
Ripple is another crypto currency to bring attention to.
Ripple’s logo may be a cryptocurrency wildcard, but a close look at their website looks all too familiar. For starters, we see a prominent blue scheme (similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum) that leans towards minimalism with simple fonts and flat illustrations.
Ripple also uses circuit imagery for a futuristic feel. But they take it to another level by incorporating it into many of the images on its site and using it to explain functionality. They combine the circuitry with hexagons, an angular shape that goes perfectly with the grid trend of cryptocurrency design.
Compared to other cryptocurrencies, IOTA does things a little differently. They rely on communication between machines on the “Internet of Things” to verify transactions (that’s where the name comes from).
Their branding follows many of the same trends we’ve seen before. They focus on the futuristic and technological aspects of cryptocurrency, taking it to new heights with advanced site features like interactive illustrations.
It might seem obvious that a cryptocurrency site would use advanced design techniques to further its futuristic style. IOTA’s logo uses a minimalist typeface to evoke its futuristic brand, but also uses circular shapes to keep in line with Industry trends.
Cryptocurrency design trends
Enthusiasts will tell you how cryptocurrency is the future, but one thing we know for sure is that it is extensively futuristic.
As such, futuristic themes (like sci-fi) seem to suit it well: space travel, machinery and especially circuitry, which highlights cryptocurrency digital nature.
Not only do shiny, metallic textures hint at that futurism theme, they also conjure up associations with coins or precious metals like gold and silver. There’s something inherently financial in shiny metal, making it a great overlay for logos and other branding imagery.
Lines and grids
Cryptocurrency brands often utilize grids, lines and angular shapes to represent networks, connections or circuits — perfect for an industry that is very hard to visualize. Grids also help make a brand seem more stable and dependable, a big plus for experimental currencies.
Circles and coins
A bit contradictory to the trend of lines and grids, several cryptocurrency logos use circles to suggest coins. These can be subtle (like traditional circular logos) or more on-the-nose (an actual coin logo). This trend also pairs well with shiny, metallic textures.
Blue and neon
A blue color palette is less of a cryptocurrency trend and more of a finance trend. Each color has its own emotional connotation, making them a powerful branding tool. Blue denotes trust and professionalism, which has made the color a staple for financial institutions. Cryptocurrencies are jumping on board for the same reason.
In direct opposition to the blue trend, we’re seeing splashes of bold colors and bright neon. With these unorthodox color choices crypto businesses are showing us that they are not your run-of-the-mill finance companies. And nothing makes a cryptocurrency business stand out like vibrant purple, orange or green in front of a deep black background.
Clean, sharp lines and simple designs with very few bold elements are not only modern but stand for clarity in a complex industry. The simplicity of these designs helps cryptocurrency businesses draw attention to the core of what they do — and look cool and up to date at the same time.
There are no guidelines for how to make a currency symbol. But somehow, currency symbols just look like currency symbols. Cryptocurrencies need symbols, too, and many companies have found it best to draw on existing currencies for inspiration. Think Bitcoin’s double strokes or Litecoin’s slanted stroke.
The cryptocurrency industry is just starting to take off. If you’re brave enough to hop into this volatile world, start mastering these trends and you’ll hit the jackpot.
What are your thoughts on cryptocurrency design?